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College to Present Week of Anti-Hazing Events

"We've come a long way from the past. Hazing is something that won't be tolerated on this campus."

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Sept. 12) -- SUNY Plattsburgh will host Hazing Prevention Week from Sept. 21 to Sept. 26. It's an educational week designed to inform the college and local community through a series of events dedicated to the prevention of hazing.

Krista Morales, a junior who is the public relations officer for the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life on campus, said this week is also about awareness for all victims of violence.

"These programs offer examples of what to do instead of hazing," she said.

Sunday, Sept. 21, is "Wear Your Anti-Hazing Organization Button" day. Participants can pick up free buttons in the Center for Fraternity/Sorority Life office, said junior Kate Clear, leadership development coordinator for the center.

Monday night is a showcase where new members learn about the four values of Greek life - friendship, scholarship, leadership and service. The next day, a vigil outside of Hood Hall next to the Walter Dean Jennings memorial will take place at 8:30 p.m. Walter Dean Jennings, a former SUNY Plattsburgh student, fell victim to hazing in an unrecognized fraternity on the campus five years ago.

"The vigil showcases victims of violence, hate crimes and hazing," Clear said.

On Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a quarter mile coin drive where groups will be lining up quarters at the Amitie Plaza. Organizations will go around the campus doing whatever they can to collect change. The change will then be rounded up and measured on strips of tape. All money raised will be sent to HazingPrevention.org.

"We've had a positive turnout," said Senior Anna Zinko, a coordinator of the event, when speaking of last year's event.

Thursday night will include a presentation on turning away from hate led by former neo-Nazi, white supremacist T.J. Leyden at 8 p.m. in the Warren Ballrooms in the Angell College Center. For 15 years, Leyden promoted hate, bigotry and racism. The former skinhead now combats the things he formerly stood for as he educates campuses around the country about the "dangers of hate," according to MTV's "Fight for your Rights: Take a Stand" video. Leyden has been a guest speaker at the Clinton White House conference on hate. He has also trained people in the FBI, the Pentagon, law enforcement, military, educators and over 800,000 students, according to www.strhatetalk.com.

The grand finale of these events will be Adopt-A-Highway held on Friday. Students and friends of the college will get together to give back and clean up the community.

National Hazing Prevention week is open to the general public.

"Anyone can support this cause," said Morales, a Delta Phi Epsilon member, who noted that hazing affects sports teams and clubs too. "It's definitely something people need to be aware of."

This week is also meant to clear up the stereotypes about hazing being a part of the Greek life.

"We've come a long way from the past." said Clear, also a Sigma Delta Tau member. "Hazing is something that won't be tolerated on this campus," she added.

"The four pillars of Greek life -- friendship, scholarship, leadership and service -- are what we work for and hazing is absolutely not a part of it," said Morales.

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